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Habitat utilisation of Flap-Necked Chameleons (Chamaeleo dilepis) on the Telperion Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga province, South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor Slater, K.
dc.contributor.advisor Brown, L.R. O'Donoghue, Trevor Lourens 2020-03-12T06:48:54Z 2020-03-12T06:48:54Z 2019-01
dc.description Text in English en
dc.description.abstract This study investigated habitat utilisation, seasonal distribution, dispersal and activity patterns and sexual dimorphism of the Flap-Necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis) on Telperion nature reserve. Telperion was delineated into four physiographic-physiognomic units based on vegetation and topography and sampled by following the Braun–Blanquet (Zurich–Montpellier) method. A modified TWINSPAN classification was performed to derive a first approximation of the major plant habitats whereby seven broad plant habitat units were identified potentially available to chameleons. Plant species richness and species diversity, plant densities and canopy cover were recorded and analysed in each of the seven habitat units. Habitat units were surveyed for chameleons at night and included a wet and a dry season. For each chameleon observed the sex, age class and various morphological measurements were recorded. Morphology analysis of the data suggested female-biased sexual dimorphism in C. dilepis that may increase fecundity in C. dilepis. The General Additive Model was used in R and determined a statistical significance between recorded temperature, photoperiod, rainfalland the presence or absence of C. dilepis suggests that chameleons at Telperion have seasonal habits influenced by climatic variables and plant species richness and plant structure. Females preferred to oviposit in grassland associated woodlands with sandy soils and high shrub canopy cover. Hatchlings would emerge from the nests and use the grassland associated habitats more than any other age class. Sub-adult and adult chameleons preferred more dense woodland with lower canopy cover and higher rockiness. This study contributes to chameleon ecology on grasslands and was the first study to be done on the ecology of C. dilepis in the grasslands of Telperion. The results will contribute to the conservation of open habitat species such as Chamaeleo dilepis especially in the grassland habitats of Mpumalanga. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xi, 150 leaves) : color illustrations, graphs, map
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Ecology en
dc.subject Ecosystem en
dc.subject Species diversity en
dc.subject Species richness grassland en
dc.subject Canopy cover en
dc.subject TWINSPAN en
dc.subject Sexual dimorphism en
dc.subject Fecundity en
dc.subject Oviposit en
dc.subject Soft-shelled egg en
dc.subject Conservation en
dc.title Habitat utilisation of Flap-Necked Chameleons (Chamaeleo dilepis) on the Telperion Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga province, South Africa en
dc.type Dissertation en
dc.description.department Applied Behavioural Ecology and Ecosystem Research Unit (ABEERU) en M.Sc. (Nature Conservation)

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